15. Mobile Ads Terrorize Users

Heads up: here’s another rant. I get that free apps need revenue somehow. I get that the mobile web is a target for advertising—that makes sense. What I don’t understand is the freaking tiny x you have to tap in order to get out of the ad. They’re not even good ads—maybe that’s why I’m so annoyed. Why make your audience angry? It baffles me. If I’m having to focus this hard to click on a tiny x, if I miss it and accidentally click on the ad, taking me to a different window entirely, I’m even less likely to pay attention to the window I was just taken to. In fact, I won’t pay any attention to it at all, just because I’m so pissed at myself that I missed the damn x. They’re practically like the pop-up ads online, where even if you click out of them a new pop-up window attacks your screen, or where you can’t click the “back” button and are eternally stuck on that ad page, cursing the advertising heavens.


In my gateway class we discussed designing for mobile and tablets. The “rule of thumb”—yes that’s a play on words…think about it—is that every thing the user must tap should be a minimum of 44 pixels. The exceptions to this rule include the iPhone keyboard when held vertically, but most people can handle that. What if you have a huge thumb? You’re screwed if a pop up ad ever accosts you while you’re trying to play angry birds.

For the most part, ads haven’t reached the mobile web pages yet. This is probably because of the lack of the sidebar space, but I have no doubt that this will soon change. Possibly the next step will look similar to the “suggested posts” on Facebook, where the ads are mixed in with regular posts as you scroll. (Note to Facebook, I hate country so stop suggesting I buy cowboy boots). The screen is just so small that ads cannot hide on the outskirts of the page. Instead, they are thrown in our faces, teasing us with small x’s.

I prefer Twitter’s method: Put the ads in there for people to click on if they want to. Make it intriguing enough and maybe we’ll go there. Make it frustrating, and we definitely won’t.


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